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Northwestern Wildcats at California Golden Bears Free Pick 8/31/13

Northwestern Wildcats (0-0) at California Golden Bears (0-0)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm (California Memorial Stadium)

The Line: California Golden Bears +6 --- Over/Under: 58 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2 HD

The Cal Golden Bears open their 2013 campaign on Saturday by hosting the Northwestern Wildcats.

The Golden Bears have been disappointing the past few seasons, and going just 3-9 is definitely not acceptable for this team. The Golden Bears finished last season with the 93rd ranked scoring offense last year, scoring just 23 points per game on average. Jared Goff has been penciled in for the opening game starter against the Wildcats, and it will be up to him to improve upon this unit’s efficiency in 2013. The ground attack for the Golden Bears was solid, gaining more than 182 yards per game on the ground, but the air attack was lackluster, putting up just more than 200 yards per game. Defensively, Cal was ranked 98th in the nation last season, giving up more than 33 points per outing, and if the Golden Bears are going to improve in 2013, they have to shore up their defense.

Northwestern Wildcats at California Golden Bears  Free Pick 8/31/13

USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats are one of the more entertaining teams to watch in the Big Ten, and in my opinion one of the best coached teams in the conference. Kain Colter is a jack of all trades player who lines up under center, and out wide, depending on the situation. Colter definitely isn’t a refined passer, but watching the Wildcats play, you can tell that he is one of the best players on the field at any given time. When Colter isn’t under center the Wildcats look to Junior Trevor Siemian, who isn’t the dynamic playmaker that Colter is, but definitely the better pocket passer. The ground game will once again be solid for the Wildcats as well, as 2012 all-conference running back Venric Mark returns for the ‘Cats. Defensively the Wildcats were ranked 29th in the nation in points allowed last season, and if this unit can play as well as last year, the Wildcats could be a dark horse contender in the Big Ten in 2013.

The Wildcats have been solid as a favorite the past few seasons as Northwestern is an impressive 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as the favorite. The Golden Bears are just 4-9 in that same stretch as the underdog.

The Wildcats are the better team here that there is no doubt. This number appears to be low as it looks as though the odds makers have more faith in the Golden Bears at home than I do. Cal is just 6-7 ATS at home in the past three years. Typically I don’t like road favorites, especially to open the season, but I see no other option than taking the Wildcats on Saturday.

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Northwestern -6

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